Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Grenada, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Best of Smarty, Non-Natives, Watering
Title: Why is my Weeping Fig crying leaves?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a weeping fig that I bought Memorial day in Birmingham, Al. It has 8 or 9 trunks growing altogether. It sits on a porch with eastern exposure, only about 2 hours of sun. It has been losing leaves steadily since I got it. They turn yellow and then fall off. I was watering it daily. Now I water it about once a week. But the leaves are still falling off. Could it be our bad water that is spoiling the plant? Thanks for any help you can give me.

ANSWER:

Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina is not a North American native plant species and is outside our area of expertise.  However, we may be able to help some. 

Mr. Smarty Plants once saw a cartoon of a weeping fig with the caption, "Ficus benjamina - Latin for, its leaves fall off."  Leaf drop is a universal truth of this species.  It will drop leaves in response to just about any change in its environmental condition: light, water, air temperature, relative humidity, you name it.  Leaf drop is a weeping fig's way of saying, "I don't like being messed with!"  Fortunately, ficuses rarely show any ill-effect from their leaf-shedding.  They usually soon produce new leaves and going on doing whatever the heck it is that ficuses do all day.  Watering once a week sounds about right.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Georgia
April 15, 2013 - I have tried to grow giant pumpkins in the Atlanta, GA area. Each year I lose several strong plants to vine borers. I have tried tin foil wrapped around the stems, and I even painted the stems with Se...
view the full question and answer

Donation of seeds of Silphium Terebinthinaceum to India
October 03, 2009 - Hi, I am located in India. I am planning to plant Silphium Terebinthinaceum in my garden in India. Please let me know who can donate me seeds to India. I need 20-30 seeds.
view the full question and answer

Native flowers of Italy from Glenwood Springs, CO
August 09, 2009 - My son is dating an Italian girl. Could you just tell me some native flowers of Italy, so he can send her some flowers?
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Ruellia brittoniana in Missouri
October 03, 2015 - I live in Missouri and have five beautiful Mexican Petunia or Ruellia brittoniana planted and established in my landscaping. With winter fast approaching, I would love advise on how to winterize the p...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Tradescantia spathacea in Austin
July 10, 2011 - Can a moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) plant be planted in a landscape setting with part sun of up to six hours in this texas heat?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.